Guest Blogger Professor Michael L. Perlin, New York Law School, explores how we can expand the reach of TJ and grow the worldwide TJ community…

In 2019 I attended American Society of Criminology conference where I presented two TJ-related papers— “Man, I Ain’t No Judge”: The Therapeutic Jurisprudence Implications of the Use of Non-judicial Officers in Criminal Justice Cases and “See This Empty Cage Now Corrode”: The International Human Rights Implications of Sexually Violent Predator Laws. I will, over the next few months, be turning both of these into articles that will, eventually if all goes well, be accessible on data bases available to lawyers and to social scientists.

I do this often. At least a dozen times in the past, I have — both as solos, with TJ colleagues Heather Ellis Cucolo and Alison J. Lynch, and with others  — turned presentations that I have done at scholarly non- TJ conferences into TJ-based papers that I uploaded to SSRN and Research Gate, and that eventually were published in law reviews, available full text on Westlaw and on  Lexis, as well as often on the website of the law school where the law review was published.

The conferences I have attended include the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, but also the American Psychology Association, the American Psychology-Law Society, the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, and the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution.  There are many other conferences. Those of you who know me know that I am a serious Bob Dylan fan. In May, I presented a paper at “The World of Bob Dylan Symposium,” sponsored by the University of Tulsa’s Institute for Bob Dylan studies — “You That Build the Death Planes”: Bob Dylan, War and International Affairs – and there was a TJ element to that as well.

One of the papers that I just presented –“Man, I Ain’t No Judge” — was part of a panel — Legal Services for the Indigent: Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Judicial Decision-making by Non-Judicial Officers — that was co-sponsored by the International Society for Therapeutic Jurisprudence  (ISTJ) (and, also as a bonus, by the Indigent Defense Research Association, a group that has supported the presentation of several of my other TJ-focused papers in recent years. I presented with Dr. Kelly Frailing, a criminology professor in New Orleans, Louisiana, Deborah Dorfman, Esq, a practicing legal aid attorney in Everett, Washington, specializing in mental disability law, and Kevin Burke, a district court judge in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Alison J. Lynch, Esq., a disability rights attorney in New York city had been slated to present with us, but her litigation schedule made that impossible.) We hope these articles will form the basis of a symposium to be published in a behavioral science journal, bringing this work to the attention of many not at the conference. We are also talking about an expanded book version,

And this led me to do some thinking. There are many of us on ISTJ Board of Trustees  who present at academic and scholarly conferences that are centered around a specific scholarly topic— in this case, criminology, but many others as well, including, not limited to,  problem-solving courts, labor and employment law, legal writing  and health law. Likely, TJ “fellow travelers”  – including, I am sure, members of our Global Advisory Council — and the broader TJ community also present at conferences focusing on other areas of academic and intellectual interest: sociology, social work, gender studies, sexuality studies, and much more. It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of the other attendees at these conferences know nothing about TJ; for many in the audience, a TJ paper would likely be the first they would ever have the opportunity to hear of TJ and what we do.

So, my suggestion is this: The next time a reader of this blog thinks about participating at a conference made up of environmentalists, of geographers, of anthropologists, of… whatever: Think about submitting an abstract about a TJ-related issue that fits within the grand scheme of the professional association’s reason for existing or the conference theme (It’s there. It’s always there).

It will likely be new to those reading abstracts on the program committee, and it may well be, at first, puzzling to them. But it should intrigue them enough that the abstract will be accepted. And then, there will be a new audience for what we do. And optimally, it will grow into a publishable article that will bring TJ to all the readers of the American Whatever Journal or the Australian Whatever Journal. Or wherever/whatever.

I’ve been doing this for years and have never looked back. I hope others will take up this suggestion.

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